O’Meara’s Suedois Steals Shadwell Turf Mile 2017

David O'MearaHeart To Heart was the 11/5 favorite in the Shadwell Turf Mile and looked set for his first Grade 1 win until the 10/1 shot Suedois surged late under Danny Tudhope denying him on the wire at Keeneland on Saturday (October 7).

Trained by Brian Lynch, the popular and incredibly consistent six-year-old Heart To Heart had given everything. He jumped well from stall 10 and was immediately ridden forward to take the lead by Florent Geroux. He had competition at the front but bravely outpaced all his challengers until the point when it mattered most. He was beaten half a length by the European raider trained by David O’Meara.

Ballagh Rocks (6/1) took third for Bill Mott only a head behind Heart To Heart with the two time Woodford Reserve Turf Classic winner Divisidero (5/1) nearly two lengths further back in fourth. Suedois’ barnmate Mondialiste (8/1) was a nose behind in fifth, beating Graham Motion’s star mare Miss Temple City (5/1) a head into sixth. Miss Temple City won this race last year and is set to go to the sales as a potential breeding prospect.

It was the third time that Lynch had seen his trainee narrowly beaten at the track and the third time this season that Heart To Heart had headed the pack turning into the stretch appearing to have them all beat before losing on the line. In April Heart To Heart was beaten a neck by Todd Pletcher’s American Patriot at the course in the Maker’s Mile. American Patriot (16/1) never looked dangerous this time and finished nearly eight lengths behind the winner in tenth.

Lynch must have wanted to bang his head against the wall but managed to maintain his humor as his six-year-old son of English Channel was beaten by a gelding who had traveled across it. He was obviously disappointed but praised Heart To Heart for running yet another great race in Grade 1 company.

A Long Wait Ended for Suedois

Suedois had been a frustrating horse to train too. Like Heart To Heart, Suedois ran plenty of good races but failed to score for an entire season in 2016. The French-bred was trained in France by Christian Baillet until he was bought for $193,000 at Arqana in October 2015 for George Turner and Clipper Logistics and joined O’Meara.

In 2016 Suedois consistently performed well, finishing second in his first two starts for O’Meara before getting beat less than a length into fifth in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot. He was subsequently second again in the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket.

Suedois picked up place money in his next three runs in Group 1 contests and was shipped to the US in November for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita but suffered an injury shortly before the race and had to be withdrawn. He seemed to be one of those horses who had lots of ability but a shortage of luck.

This year the six-year-old Suedois was disappointing in his first two runs. He got beat 12 lengths in May on his debut before starting as the favorite next time in another Group 2 over six furlongs but finished third. It could be significant that both those runs were on soft ground but when O’Meara tried a visor on him at Royal Ascot in June when the ground was faster he was beaten over three lengths into seventh.

Suedois was next seen in August in a Group 2 at Goodwood over the increased distance of seven furlongs. He finished third, half a length behind the winner. Later that month it was a similar story in a Group 3 at York when he was the same distance behind the winner. Tudhope rode him closer to the front of the pack but he was outpaced close to home.

Almost two years after he joined O’Meara Suedois posted his first win last time out in a Group 2 run over a mile in Ireland in September. He had not been tried over a mile since he was a juvenile and finished second in France. Tudhope rode him in the middle of the pack and delivered a perfectly timed late run. A win is a cause for celebration after such a long wait but the merit of it was questionable as the favorite disappointed and a 25/1 shot finished second.

Suedois’ Shadwell victory was his first top quality score and the increased distance seems the most likely factor in the turnaround of his fortunes. As a son of Le Havre out of a Singspiel mare he is certainly bred to get much further than six furlongs. O’Meara admitted that he might have been running Suedois over the wrong trip.

Who is David O’Meara?

O’Meara is based in the north of England and has an enviable track record of improving horses, especially with trainees purchased in France. His owners do not spend millions on beautifully bred yearlings but trust his judgement in purchasing more mature horses with potential for further development at the sales.

O’Meara is a businessman as well as a very good trainer, he looks for valuable targets and is not afraid of shipping his horses. Mondialiste was also purchased in France and finished second to the mighty Tepin in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Mile for him and won the Woodbine Mile Stakes before taking the Arlington Millions in 2016.

What Next For Suedois?

Suedois’ Shadwell Turf Mile victory not only provided the gelding with his biggest payday but guarantees him a place in the Breeders’ Cup. O’Meara was non-committal about his plans but if Suedois is fit and well he can be expected to line up at Del Mar and is currently a 14/1 chance in the Breeders’ Cup Mile betting.